New biography unmasks German feminist novelist as early Nazi

Berlin – A new biography of German feminist novelist Luise Rinser Tuesday revealed she was a Nazi until her arrest by the Third Reich authorities in 1944.

Rinser (1911 – 2002), who lived for three decades in Italy, had a strong following among Italian readers. Her novels about feisty women, her leftist views and her tales of how she dared to contradict the Nazis made her an anti-fascist icon.

However, the new biography by Jose Sanchez de Murillo, who befriended Rinser in her old age, turned up evidence that as a ‘committed Nazi schoolteacher,’ she denounced the Jewish principal of her school to the Nazis to get herself a promotion.

Published Tuesday, it also revealed she was a coach in a Nazi youth organization for girls and was later a well-paid scriptwriter for the Nazi film industry. In one of her surviving letters, she asked for advice on buying a house with her earnings.

Sanchez de Murillo said he was sure her conversion to democracy after the Second World War, when she campaigned to wipe out lingering Nazi influence on public life, was genuine – but she had not been truthful about what went before.

‘In point of fact, she lied,’ he said in an interview. Rinser had consciously shaped a legend of herself as a resister. Only her arrest for speaking out of line in 1944 had opened her eyes to the Nazi evil.

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